Health experts divided over transmission of novel coronavirus
CHICAGO (US) – Medical experts are divided over the transmission of the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, WHO said that the novel coronavirus can spread through tiny droplets in the air. This gives credence to the views of more than 200 experts in aerosol science who complained that the UN agency failed to warn the public about this risk.
However, WHO will seek more concrete evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted through the air. If so, it would put in on par with measles and TB, requiring stricter measures to contain its spread.
“WHO’s slow motion on this issue is unfortunately slowing the control of the pandemic,” said Jose Jimenez, a University of Colorado chemist who is one of the signatories of a letter that warned WHO of the chances of coronavirus spreading through droplets in the air.
Jimenez and other aerosol transmission experts blame the WHO for adhering to the theory that germs are spread mainly though contact with a contaminated person or object.
“It’s part of the culture of medicine from the early 20th century. To accept something was airborne requires this very high level of proof,” said Dr Donald Milton, a University of Maryland aerobiologist and a lead author of the letter.
The signatories said such proof would require studies in which lab animals fall sick after being exposed to the virus in the air.
For the WHO, such proof is essential as it advises countries to take more drastic measures against the pandemic.
According to its latest guidance document released on Thursday, WHO called for more research on aerosol transmission of the virus. It also said that larger droplets are unlikely to travel beyond one metre.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field